Decoding Absence – The Mesarthim Enigma

Beeeep beep beep beep beeeep beep beeeep beep beep.

I, along with many others, have been jamming the new Mesarthim album since its surprise release on Sunday. If you missed the news in Monday’s news post and podcast, or our review of their first album (which, in my opinion, is lacking at least one additional flaming toilet), they are a mysterious duo out of Australia making some outrageously awesome space themed black metal. Mesarthim, in the astrophysical realm, is a binary star system in the Aries constellation, if you were curious.

.- -… … . -. -.-. . (or Absence, for the Morse illiterate) is yet another exceptional album that deserves your 1+ dollar(s). Despite their complete lack of promotion, they somehow had about 100 supporters within the first 8 hours of the release. It’s that good. But we’re not here to talk about the music. In choosing to use Morse Code for the title and song names, they seem intent upon challenging us with their veiled nature. Of course, if you can see the dots and dashes on a screen, you can easily pop them into an online translator and find out what they mean. Our own Lacertilian did this for the TovH Facebook Group, finding the title of the album and that the track names are simply 1-6. What turned out to be significantly harder was translating the beeps and slightly longer beeeps in the last few seconds of “-….” (9:45-10:00).

So where does one start when trying to decipher the audio code? I figured I would listen, write down the dots and dashes as I heard them, open up a cheat sheet, then BAM! code deciphered. Oh boy was I wrong. Maybe it’s just me, but I found it nearly impossible to keep up with short spaces, the amount of dots or dashes in a quick sequence, or even the difference between the two lengths. I was able to get the first word, (- … .), or THE, after many repeated listens, but everything beyond that turned into mush. As an extreme novice of the beep, I needed to slow it down.

As a non-musician, I didn’t have any audio software on my computer so I downloaded the first decent looking free thing and ran with it (I know Windows Media Player has this function, but I also wanted to crop the song to make playback easier). I opened up the track and slowed it down to 1/4 speed. Finally, I had something I could work with. I grabbed some paper, dotted and dashed the shit out of it, then entered it into the translator.

– …. . / ––. .–. . .– – / ..–. .. .–.. – . .–. / .– .––. .––. .–. ––– .– –.–. …. . …
THE GREAT FILTER APPROACHES

Uhh… Ok. Thanks Mesarthim.

But wait! There’s more! A little bit of googling reveals that The Great Filter is a term used in association with the Fermi paradox. I encourage you to read the wiki page, or even the little blurb about it within the page for The Great Filter, but the quick version is this:

The earth shows no obvious signs of alien visitation. There are logical steps in an evolutionary path to get from “habitable planet” to “complex life forms” and finally to “colonization of other planets.” Many habitable planets are very very old, and therefore a good few should be at the point of colonization. A little math proves that there is a high probability that Earth would have already been visited/colonized at this point. Since that is not the case, some point in those evolutionary steps must be impossible or very improbable. The Great Filter is the name of the evolutionary step that makes colonization unlikely. It could be an early step, like any kind of biological life developing at all, or an advanced step, like interstellar travel being impossible.

Mesarthim’s message is enhanced by their mysterious nature. Are they saying that we will soon come closer to identifying what the filter is? Perhaps by finding microbial life on another planet? Or are they saying that we, or another life form, will soon show that the filter doesn’t exist, and that colonization is really happening but invisible to our current detection. Either way, I am convinced that Mesarthim has magical powers to know that something cool is happening soon, and I’ll be waiting.

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Published on: August 30, 2016

Filled Under: Metal, Nerd Shit

Views: 1866

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  • Lacertilian

    The late astrophysicist Carl Sagan had a great run-down of the Fermi Paradox/Drake Equation on his (1980 but still relevant) show Cosmos. Plugging in some conservative estimates gives a very low number of potential civilisations for our galaxy. If have any interest in space but have somehow never watched this series, I cannot recommend it enough. The 2014 series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson was ok, but this series is inimitable.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlikCebQSlY

    • Joaquin Stick

      I watched the black science guy’s version. I should check out the original.

    • JWEG

      I like the “Wait… But Why?” discussion of the paradox, and must be far from alone (no pun intended) in that since it has clawed up to second in Google results since I last looked.

      http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/05/fermi-paradox.html

    • Abradolf Lincler

      NDT now does that show

    • Dagon

      That quote is tremendous. I used to be a big space nerd as a kid, took astronomy courses that were way over my head at the time.

      I haven’t been reading a lot on the subject these days because of boring human beings and their multiple ways of dying.

  • Lacertilian

    And yes… the old “online translator”, that’s what I used. You’d have to be an idiot to waste time doing it any other way!

    • Fuck. My translation must be off. I got B E S U R E T O D R I N K Y O U R O V A L T I N E

      • Lacertilian

        Is this a “you old” joke?
        I’m too old to tell.

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          Someone hasn’t been drinking their Ovaltine.

          • Lacertilian

            Do I just add it directly to the daily glass of Alfredo sauce you recommend?

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Technically you add Ovaltine to milk. Don’t add it to Alfredo because Alfredo is a cream based sauce. Also don’t add it to water because adding Quik, Ovaltine or Tang to water makes the water taste shitty.

          • Lacertilian

            Too late! I added a 3 ladles full to a pint of ranch sauce and now I’m a walrus with type 2 diabeetus and a range of unknown food intolerances.
            Thanks a lot, man.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            That was a terrible idea.

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          This is a Christmas Story joke, my dude.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdA__2tKoIU

          • Lacertilian

            Yeah, Joe told me earlier. I’m ok with not knowing this reference.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            LizardBro plz! A Christmas Story is a classic!

    • Joaquin Stick

      I planned on doing it that way, since I thought it would be more fun, but after like an hour of listening to beeps, I just gave up and let the computer do the work.

  • Dubbbz

    I find the BOFA paradox more compelling.

  • Waynecro

    “Mesarthim has magical powers to know that something cool is happening soon.” I want to believe!

    • Maik Beninton™

      I want to bereave.

      • Waynecro

        I Bereave in the gym all the time.

  • Does it have breakdowns?

    • Dagon

      *ties gyms shorts*

    • Dubbbz

      There’s a bass drop in one song.

      • That’s kind of like a breakdown

  • This actually sounds like black metal laid under background music from an RPG from the 32-bit era.

    • I’m not mad at this statement.

      AT ALL!

      • Yeah it’s actually pretty cool. I was expecting something a lot more… slow-moving , for lack of a better word.

  • Abradolf Lincler
  • This is our fourth post THIS WEEK mentioning this record. Not sure how many other ways we can convince folks to plunk down one dollar and buy this album.

    • Abradolf Lincler

      you can also still get one of the EPs he released on vinyl. I will get the vinyl when it comes out

    • RJA

      It really is absurd they are only asking for a dollar!

  • JWEG
    • Waynecro

      I was crushed when I learned that Bill Nye isn’t even a PhD.

      • Lacertilian

        For TV space guys, Brian Cox>>>

      • RJA

        No kidding?! I did not know that – that is depressing.

      • JWEG

        No, but he’s a surprisingly good Bill Shatner impersonator.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kve6B81IiZ8

      • Dubbbz

        Luckily you have a couple milling about the toilet to fill that void.

        Nothing sexual.

        • Waynecro

          I work with several PhDs too, but they’re not cool like Toilet PhDs are.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            i work with several phds too (pretty hard drinkers)

          • Dubbbz

            That’s not at all uncommon among academics. Also, I think most math profs do hard drugs, but I can’t prove it. My differential equations professor looked like a methhead, but he was brilliant.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            escapism knows no caste

          • Spear

            more like mathhead right hahahaha please end me

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Wait, what? I think I’m gonna cry.

        • Abradolf Lincler

          maybe this is more of a commentary on our public schools

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I watched Bill Nye a lot in school.

  • Programed Drums?

    • Abradolf Lincler

      one man band afaik. all albums programmed drums. lends itself to space/post theme imho

      • Wow, they have “Trance” as their genre on MA. Nope! Haha

        • Abradolf Lincler

          yeah, i wouldnt say this is for you, tyree.

        • Abradolf Lincler

          oh, but AA did restock that Azaxul album. might grab it friday. trying to figure out a hoodie to get for my gf

          • Oh nice!

          • Abradolf Lincler

            HH has a Drudkh hoodie and a Satanic Warmaster hoodie and a Dissection hoodie i might buy for her. which one?

          • I actually have both the Satanic Warmaster and Dissection hoodies. Both are really nice. Tough choice duders.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            drudkh it is then. at least i can tell her which albums to talk about

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        Two man, but doesn’t mean the drums aren’t programmed.

  • Some random duder on Bandcamp gifted me two Mesarthim albums and I truly thank him for giving me the opportunity to listen these songs the way I need. So, thanks again, Shapeshifting digital magician!

    This was such an entertaining reading, Joaquín. Thanks to you for giving the insight on the thematic, I’m always interested on going beyond the lyrical themes of the things I like to hear. Great job, JS!

    I’ve never heard before of this The Great Filter theory, but it’s so interconnected to the band’s message that I’m just amazed on how cool is all of this.

  • AndySynn

    Since one suggestion for “The Great Filter” theory is that every developing civilisation inevitably hits a point in its development where it self-destructs (which is why we haven’t encountered any of them)… I’m reading this as a “humanity is fucked and our extinction is imminent” type of statement.

    Also, I was one of those supporters, and I’ll be grabbing the cd version as soon as it’s available.

    • >:)

    • Joaquin Stick

      Good call, I didn’t consider that interpretation. The general upbeatness of the music had me thinking optimistically.

      • AndySynn

        Funnily I found this one a fair few shades darker than “Isolate” or “Pillars”… less of the spacey, Euro-Dance “ooh, ahhh” vibe and a lot more, I don’t know, dusty/dusky? The keys remind me a fair bit more of early 2nd wave Black Metal this time around.

  • mynd
    blone

  • Abradolf Lincler

    just found out Blood Incantation playing the friday 2 days before WIITR

    holy shit what a weekend

  • Spear

    The Great Filter approaches. It’s make it or break it for humanity. There’s a pleasant thought.

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    All this science talk makes me want to play Old World Blues again.

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  • lagerbottoms

    Well the Great Filter is the reason that expanding lasting life is improbable. So The Great Filter is that which will probably prevent us from successfully and lastingly colonizing other planets.

    Thus I interpret “The Great Filter approaches” as, our impending extinction.

    Maybe we’ll survive the Great Filter, but probably we won’t. Maybe the Great Filter is that part of our human biology that creates feelings of hate, envy, rage, apathy, grief and brings people to the point, that these emotions are more important than love, empathy, joy, trust, optimism.